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What is a Mobile Application (Mobile App)?

Commonly referred as an App, this is a software which is designed to run on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet computer. It has high demand in the contemporary world due to the high usage of smart phones. These Apps are different to computer or web applications and are small, individual software units with limited capabilities. There are a few platforms such as Windows Mobile, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Google OS, Kai OS and IOS. According to mobile market shares in 2022, the leading platforms from the list are Windows Mobile, Android and IOS.

What is the role of mobile applications in ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a well-known software product which is used to manage the day-to-day business of a company such as accounting, human resources (HR), procurement, customer relationships (CRM), supply chain, manufacturing, engineering, maintenance, projects, service etc. All the above-mentioned areas are managed using desktop or web applications due to the strong capabilities of it. But there are limitations in areas such as field service management. One such example is the lack of possibility for all the field service users to connect to a company network using a laptop every time.  Offline capability is a key need because it is not feasible to expect Field Engineers to have internet all the time. This is why mobile applications are important.

Issues in usual mobile application development

There are a few ways to develop the mobile applications such as keeping separate source code for each platform or use cross platform development mechanisms. According to the customers who use the mobile applications, it supports to add customizations to existing app and the developer should maintain source code for each customer who has customizations. It should build new app in each bug fix in UI elements, bug fix in framework development, customization version upgrade in each customer etc. Maintaining several source code repositories with entire source code (customization + R&D release) per user is also not easy. These are time-consuming and complex task. For an example, When the R&D team finds a bug in the framework code and releases a fix, applying fix to all users who are using the same framework version takes a considerable amount of time, which would sometimes be months. This may result in delaying the release process. The only way of releasing the mobile executable is side loading instead of a general release. At the end, it might result in thousands of executables based on the number of customers.

What is the future of IFS Mobile Apps?

With the New IFS Aurena Native Development, the entire development has two major parts. One is the Metadata development for logic and the UI behavior (Customization + Core), and the second part is the container application development which render the metadata and  generate the user interface and logical behavior on top of the framework functionality. Therefore, the development has two releases. Metadata release and the Container (framework application) release.

This container application contains the framework features and the native features based on the platform. Therefore, it has three different executables for each platform, and it is capable to render the metadata and generate the UI and the app behavior based on the Native app behavior with Mobile Native features such as GPS handling, camera handling, calling etc.

So, it releases the Container application (backward compatible) to general Apps store and customer could download it and update the existing application without any worry. Framework bug fixes and new features are uploaded to App Store, and it will be sent to all used as general app update. Since the application is backward compatible, end user could use latest app with older IFS Application version. The developer who creates the UI and the logic can concentrate only on it and release the metadata with general app release using the usual release process.

New IFS Aurena Native development has enhanced the RAD (Rapid Application Development) in agile manifesto. This creates the new era in IFS mobile application development.

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